I have learned that the world congregates around influence.
The lobbying industry tries to influence the government. Entrepreneurs influence consumers to spend their money on certain products or services. Politicians spend millions with consultants and telemarketing campaigns to sway constituencies to vote a certain way. Parents want to influence their children.
It’s all influence.
So whats the difference between Influence and Leadership? To be sure, you have the Abraham Lincolns of the world who are influential leaders. But for every Abraham Lincoln, you have a Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, and Charles Darwin—people of massive influence who had no leadership position and some even died in obscurity.
So we say– You can influence without being a leader, and you can lead without influencing, but you can’t be a good leader without influencing. Building influence is what we preach here. Whether you are an established leader or not.
Incidentally, the best leaders strive not for leadership (which is given to them) but for influence (which is earned). Ken Blanchard wrote, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” Michael Hyatt says, “Aspiring leaders would do well to stop focusing on control and figure out how to expand their influence.” John Maxwell puts it plainly— “Leadership is influence.”
Let me put it this way: Leadership and influence are both needed, but influence is bigger, deeper, and a more difficult skill to cultivate than stereotypical leadership. For the over 50 crowd it is tantamount to their success on the back porch of life. That is why we spend so much time on it here.